Coconut Oil: A Prepper’s Panacea

 Coconut Oil A Prepper's PanaceaThis post originally appears in The Organic Prepper

Written by Daisy Luther

What shelf stable item can be used (nutritiously) in place of butter, shortening, and cooking oil, and then pressed into duty as a health and beauty aid?

Coconut oil!

One of my favorite pantry items is my big jar of organic virgin coconut oil, and the crazy thing is, I don’t even like coconuts.  If you slip me a cookie that has those nasty little flakes of coconut in them, I’ll probably spit it out – I really, emphatically don’t like coconut!  I am stressing this point because coconut oil has a place in the kitchen of even the most die-hard coconut hater (like me!).
Sometimes people who are seeking a healthier lifestyle make the mistake of avoiding all fats.  Sure, eating a bag of Doritos covered in cheese is terrible for you (in more ways than just the fat content!) – but certain fats can be a healthy, and very necessary,  part of your diet.  In fact, these “healthy fats” can actually aid in weight loss, if that is your goal.  Some examples of these healthy fats would be those from nuts, avocados, seeds, certain fish, and coconut oil. Consumption of these fats will improve your hair, your skin, your immune system, and your organ function when consumed in moderate quantities. As well, certain nutrients are fat soluble and can only be properly used by your body in the presence of fat.  For example, Vitamins A, D, E, and K should be taken when you eat a small amount of fat.

All coconut oils are not created equally. There are a few basic types of coconut oil, and it’s important to get the “right” kind for your needs in order to reap the full benefits of your purchase.

Refined or Unrefined?

First, you’ll need to decide between refined and unrefined.  This relates to the process of extracting the oil.

A refined coconut oil is separated by heat.  Refined coconut oil is more heat-stable and can be used in cooking methods like frying.  Many people opt for refined coconut oil because it is flavorless and odorless. The shelf life of a refined coconut oil, according to the expiration dates is 18 months to 2 years.  A refined coconut oil loses some nutritional benefits but how much really depends upon the refining process that is used.

  • Expeller Pressed:  This is the traditional method of extracting coconut oil.  No chemicals are used in this method – the oil is extracted by a machine which physically presses out the oil, then is deodorized by distilling it with steam.  If you opt for a refined oil, look for “expeller pressed” on the label.
  • RBD:  The RBD (refining bleaching deodorizing) process often uses chemical solvents like hexane to extract the oil. (Hexane is a toxic chemical that can be used to dissolve adhesive, cement and glue.)  This process is generally performed on previously dried coconut kernel called copra, which is often made from lower quality or old coconuts.

An unrefined coconut oil is also called virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.  This oil has the light scent and flavor of coconut, which disappears somewhat when used in cooking. This type of coconut oil has the most nutritional benefits and the shelf life has been documented as anywhere from 2-5 years, to “indefinite”.

Health Benefits

The number one health benefit of coconut oil is that about 50% of it is lauric acid, an essential fatty acid that is only otherwise found naturally in such high levels in human breast milk. The human body turns lauric acid into monolaurin, which contains antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties, so basically, it boosts your immunity in every possible way.

The Coconut Research Center summarized the health benefits of coconut oil, based on recent scientific studies.  (Please follow the link for further documentation.)

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.

Storage and Shelf Life

Coconut oil has a melting point of 76F/24C.  If it is stored above that temperature it will be a liquid, and below it will be a solid.  It doesn’t harm the coconut oil to be in the liquid state – keep in mind that coconuts originate from a tropical climate. The shelf life will be extended if the product is stored in a cool, dark place, however,  if you store it in the refrigerator it will be rock hard.  You can soften it by placing the closed jar in a pan of hot water.

If you are purchasing a large quantity of coconut oil (for example, a 1-5 gallon bucket) use a sterilized, completely dry spoon or scoop and dip out enough oil for regular use. I keep a 1 pint jar of coconut oil in the bathroom and a quart jar in the kitchen.

As mentioned elsewhere in the article, the shelf life declared by the coconut oil companies ranges from 18 months-2 years for refined coconut oil, and 2 years-4 years-beyond for virgin coconut oil.

How to use Coconut Oil in the Kitchen

Coconut oil can serve many purposes in the kitchen.  If you use virgin coconut oil it will impart a very light coconut flavor to your cooking, but it isn’t really comparable to the flavor you get from adding flaked coconut.  I suggest you get a small jar to test it out before investing in quantity, because there’s nothing worse than making a large investment in something that you find distasteful.

For the best results, raise or lower the temperature of your coconut oil to reach the consistency of the item you are replacing.  For example, if you are baking and the recipe calls for shortening, briefly chill the coconut oil until it is a firm consistency. You can use coconut oil in place of:

  • Butter (use 25% less coconut oil than the amount of butter called for)
  • Shortening
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • Vegetable oil for salad dressings
  • Lard

You can also make popcorn in coconut oil over popcorn for a lightly flavored sweet treat.

Cosmetic and External Uses

This is the way coconut oil first made its way into my home – the cosmetic uses!  When I was searching for a lotion and moisturizer that didn’t contain nasty parabens and petroleum products, while also being safe on my daughter’s extremely sensitive skin, I discovered coconut oil.  The pleasant scent is an added bonus. We use it in many different ways.
  • Facial moisturizer
  • Moisturizing body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Treating minor burns
  • Treating skin rashes
  • Treating insect bites
  • Deep conditioner for hair
  • Cuticle treatment
  • Make-up remover
  • Lip balm
Other uses that I can’t personally confirm, but that I came across when researching this article:
  • Aftershave
  • Deodorant (because of the antimicrobial qualities)
  • Toothpaste (mix with baking soda)
  • Sunscreen
  • Nipple cream for breast-feeding women (and non-toxic to baby, unlike the commercial products)
  • Diaper rash
  • Cradle cap
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Personal lubricant (do not use with latex condoms)
  • Insect repellent (mix with lavender or peppermint essential oil)
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Acne
  • Treating minor cuts and abrasions
In my own stockpile, the only fats I have stored are organic virgin coconut oil and organic olive oil, with the majority being coconut oil.  Because it is a nutritional gold mine, coconut oil is a very worthwhile substitute for many of the fats commonly used in our kitchens. I have limited storage space, also, so I like to store things that can serve many uses.

Once you try this multi-tasking superstar, you’ll wonder how you got by so long without it!

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at – See more at:

Monday Musings: 12/15/2014 Sourdough Starter Test

Sourdough Starter test1 This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Thanks to everyone who entered The Prescott Bag Giveaway – a winner has been and notified.  This was the last giveaway of the year, but expect you can expect giveaways to start up again in January.

As for what I’ve been up to…

Sourdough Starter Test

After reviewing Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast I was inspired to get my own starter going.  I had some dehydrated starter dating back from the Oregon Trail that I’d had for a year.  It did not come with directions but I was following directions from the book.  I added water to the starter flakes to reconstitute, and followed directions to make my own starter by adding flour and water.

Sourdough Starter test

Then I let it sit on the counter for four days.  At this point the starter was bubbly and had a bit of water on top which I tossed out.  I then added flour and water again, as I understood from the directions.  I then placed it in the fridge.

It’s supposed to get bubbly and rise then you add more flour and water.  But when I checked it, the starter had a lot of water on top, and it smelled really bad.  According to the directions, if the starter starts to smell, you can either try to “rescue” the starter or just toss and start all over again.  As you know I don’t like to waste things, but this starter reeked.  I could not see adding more flour and making bread out of something that smelled so horrible.  Plus I read somewhere that bad starter can be dangerous.  I opted to toss it and start all over. *sigh*  You win some you lose some.  We’ll mark this one up as a challenge – I’ll try making starter again if a few weeks.

Now for the links…

How to Pull an All-Nighter: Tips from the Special Forces

Pizza Dough in a Pan Recipe

How To Make Basic Bread From Dough Without Yeast

12 Things You Should Stop Doing That Are Stealing Your Joy

Emergency Communication Devices


Take care and have a great week everyone!


© Apartment Prepper 2014





How to Stretch Ground Beef

How to Stretch Ground BeefThis post is by Bernie Carr,

I have been on a tight budget lately, and one of our staple foods is ground beef.  Lately however, you can hardly call ground beef a bargain food.   The last time I went grocery shopping, I got sticker shock from the ground beef prices-the price has risen to over $4 a pound.  This is an all-time record high, according to this article  These prices used to be for organic or grass fed, but now even regular ground beef is expensive.

How to stretch ground beef for hamburgers:

I called my Dad, who is my source for budget minded menus, and he told me his method of stretching ground beef for hamburgers:

Basic recipe:

To a pound of ground beef, add

  • 1/2 cup add finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs and
  • one egg.

Add salt and pepper to taste

I made hamburgers using this method and it worked well.   The onions add a nice flavor and the bread crumbs did not change the taste or texture of the meat.

This basic recipe can also be used to make meatballs (just shape into 1 inch rounds), for meatball marinara sauce or meatball soup.

Variation:  Bacon Cheddar Jalapeno Burger Patties

Expanding on my Dad’s method, instead of onions, I added to one pound of ground beef:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapenos (seeds removed)
  • 1 piece of cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg

You can adjust according to the number of burgers you are cooking.  Shape into patties and fry as normal.

The burgers came out really tasty and I was able to stretch the pound of ground beef for a couple of meals.

 Give it a try!  What is your favorite way to stretch ground beef?  Please share in the comments.

 © Apartment Prepper 2014

Shop for gifts!


So Can’t Afford to Prep, Eh?

So You Can't Afford to PrepThis article first appeared in Preparing with Dave

Article by Dave at

Can you afford not to?

Sadly enough, I feel like most of my time is spent trying to convince even preppers to prep. I hear many times that people cannot afford a necessary prep. A necessary prep means that if you don’t have it, you risk death in a survival situation. How could anyone not afford it? The answer lies in prioritizing one’s life and future. Many people are not fully internally aware enough of the seriousness of needing to be seriously prepared, thus not taking it seriously enough.

We make sacrifices to put money away for retirement, and call it an investment. Preps are investments, too. Water filtration devices are investments on life-saving hydration. Security devices and self-defense tools are investments to protect our lives from harmful people that said they couldn’t afford to prep, or just didn’t see it as important, which is kind of the same in my opinion. Their actions to aggressively acquire what they need will be the same.

Most of every item in my Emergency Survival Pack or Bug-Out Bag, is under or around $20.00 in cost of investment expenditure. Therefore, I will base some examples I offer you around that dollar amount of investment. Here are some examples of sacrifice to secure “Necessary Preps“.

Example one:

Some people drink two sodas per day. That’s around sixty sodas per month. Cost is around $20.00 to $40.00, depending on their favorite brand and flavor. That equals the cost of one to two Sawyer Mini Filters that filter 100,000 gallons of life-saving water each. Just cutting consumption of soda for one-month, and someone can have 100,000 gallons or more of water filtration prepped.

Example two:

The average lunch or dinner in a restaurant is $10.00 to $25.00 per person, depending on whether it is a fast-food or sit-down meal with tip. This could buy a couple of inexpensive packs on sale to start sticking preps in, to grab and go in an emergency situation. Skip these meals and go simple at home, and this prep is taken care of now. Add number one and number two example together, and you’re on your way to some good preparedness.

Example three:

Any service you have someone else do for you, like nails, hair, car wash, taking care of your yard, changing your oil, etc. These services add up to a healthy sum of money in a year’s time, or even just six-months. Actually, having all of these done in one-month adds up to over $100.00. That’s a lot of preps if you do a few simple tasks on your own, instead of paying someone else to do it for you. $100.00 dollars could buy eight fire starters, a family water filtration four-pack, 140 Mylar blankets, ten emergency shelters, ten emergency two-person sleeping bags, five Life Straws, ten containers of waterproof matches (250 matches), five WaterBobs, one high-quality crank emergency radio/flashlight ($30.00 leftover), and more. Get the idea?

Affording To Prep

These are just a few examples of what I call monetary maneuvering to acquire necessary preps. It takes sacrifice to have anything that is important enough. We have made many sacrifices around here to have what we need for our survival investments. We have a very nice “grid-down fund“, or “convenience-lost fund“, that is not monetary. It’s all in preps, since in SHTF, money isn’t worth anything and banks won’t be open to access the worthless notes anyway. You can do this too, if you prioritize your preps versus whatever else you are spending money on.

We have skipped favorite meals here and there, we do most everything ourselves, and we don’t buy frivolous items or services. We also prepare our owns meals that are healthier and actually much tastier, because we don’t use cheap food sources to cut costs and raise profit margins like restaurants do.

Do this or not, because it’s your choice and your life that’s at risk if you don’t…NOT MINE!”

About the AuthorDave writes  He created this page to share his experience, knowledge, actions, and continuing path with others.  He hopes your tour around the website is informative and you continue to visit for updates and sharing of your comments. Please visit Dave, on Facebook @

If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to message him on Facebook:

Get out of debt

Christmas Shopping Deals


Best Preparedness Gifts

Best preparedness giftsLast week the city of Detroit experienced a huge power outage that lasted for several hours and took a lot of people by surprise.   Many public buildings, office buildings and schools lost power.  This incident reminded me that emergencies can happen at any time and anywhere.   It is easy to forget or dismiss the idea of being prepared until something happens and you wish you had done something about it.

We all have family and friends who are not really into prepping, or who mean to but don’t get around to it.  Since we’re giving gifts anyway, might as well give them something to help them prepare for an emergency.

Here are a few ideas for preparedness gifts for various budgets:

Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger
Weather radio and cell phone charger
Priced around $32

Fold’n Go 2-Burner Stove
Fold and go stove
Priced around $70

Solar Watch
Solar watch
Priced around $32

Red Pepper Spray with Dye

Priced around $9

Good Grip Can Opener

Can Opener
Priced around $14

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Priced around $20

AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger

Priced around $20

Door Stop Alarm

Priced around $12

16 GB Flash Drive

Flash drive
Priced around $10

Paracord Bracelet

paracord bracelet

Priced around $20

Essential Oils 4 Pack:  Lavender, Lemon, Tea Tree and Peppermint 

Essential Oils-4 PackPriced around $18-Get 10% off use code APARTMENT PREPPER

These preparedness gifts will get a lot of use.  Some useful items like my favorite, the can opener, can be used daily, and not just in an emergency.   But wait, it’s not all about giving “stuff.”  If you prefer, you can still give the gift of preparedness by helping someone accomplish a chore that they never get around to doing:

  • Back up documents and photos for a close relative
  • Share some skills that you have as knitting, canning, yogurt making, breadmaking or even a free cooking lesson.
  • Print up PDF files for an emergency binder
  • Make water proof matches or firestarter with household items such as cotton balls and petroleum jelly and packaging a handful in a jar labeled Emergency Fire Starter, with instructions.

Sharing your knowledge and time is just as valuable as giving an item.  We all want to help our loved ones prepare and Christmas is a great time to spread the “joy of preparedness” in subtle ways.


Prescott Fire Resistant Bag Giveaway

How To Store Important Documents-Giveaway-Dec.5th-12th, 2014 by
ZquaredAway is kindly sponsoring this giveaway for the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag.
ZquaredAway manufactures and sells a line of protective covers for home archival use. These patent pending bags have triple layered covers that will protect against
flame, smoke, heat and the water application used to mitigate most house fires. Their motto “Fire Fighter Gear For What You Hold Dear” serves to protect many archival items and keepsakes to include wedding albums, emergency binders with important documents such as passports and birth certificates, scrapbooks, collections such as baseball cards, thumb drives, family home movies, baby books, genealogy documents, and much more. The Prescott Fire Resistant Bag, their largest cover is an ideal carrier for any prepper’s “grab and go” binder. These covers are manufactured in the U.S. and are currently sold on

Today’s giveaway includes The Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and the Outer Bank Thumb Drive Cover.

This Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and the Outer Banks Thumb Drive Cover is a sponsored giveaway and open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Friday, Dec.5th at 5:00 am (MST) and ends on Friday, Dec.12th, 2014 at 5:00 pm (MST). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag

I was very interested in checking out Prescott Fire Resistant Bag when I first heard about it.

Here’s a bit of history behind the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag, as told by Roberta Flood, owner of Zquared Away:

“I had a friend loose everything in a house fire including important documents, pre digital and vintage photos and a lot of scrapbooks. I had just gotten out of the Army National Guard where I was a CH47D (Chinook) helicopter pilot. We wore Nomex flight suits that have fire resistant capabilities. I began to play around with designs over the next few years with Nomex until it dawned on me that the fire industry already had the perfect formula. We use the same layers of fabric the fire fighters use although our construction is unique and patent pending.”

The Prescott Fire Resistant bag is manufactured by Zquared Away. They manufacture and sell a line of protective covers for home archival use. These patent pending bags are designed to offer the same peace of mind a fire fighter has when entering a burning building.  Their triple layered covers will protect against flame, smoke, heat and the water application used to mitigate most house fires.

The Prescott Fire Resistant bag has some great features:

  • Outer material is made from Nomex® blend, Fire fighter gear, also known as turn out gear, in the United States adheres to the guidelines put forth in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) set of standards.
  • The outer layer is water repellant and the yellow layer is also a FR (fire resistant) moisture barrier.  Seam sealed with an FR seam tape.  When rolled down in the closed position, the bag should withstand the heavy application of water from fire hoses.
  • The inner most liner that appears quilted is also FR and provides the thermal protection.  This layer will keep contents protected against extreme heat.
  • Made in the U.S.

Having reviewed many products over the years, I was excited to test their products. I received the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and Outer Banks thumb drive cover.  Check out Zquared Away’s test of the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag in this video.

My impressions of the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag:

The bag was a lot larger than I envisioned. I imagined it to be a standard tote bag size and was a little concerned it would not fit all the items I’d like protected. Well, I was glad I was mistaken in my original assumption – the bag is huge.   It also has an inner quilted layer that cushions the contents of the bag and adds another layer of protection.  The stitching is tight and the bag is well-made.

Long time readers know I test all products that I review, and report both good and bad results.  Some products are presented well, but you never know how they will turn out until you actually test it.  I did my own testing and here are the results:

What happens when you add heavy contents to the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag?

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag2

I added the following to the bag:

· grab and go binder
· wedding album
· photo album

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag3

Here is the filled bag.  The bag is not overly stuffed; I could have added a few other documents or keepsakes if needed.

I did the following tests on the Outer Banks Protective Thumb Drive Cover (sold separately) that is made from the same material.  (Please note the “burn” test was done taking all safety precautions and with a fire extinguisher on hand.)

What happens when the bag gets wet?

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag4

I doused the bag with water using a kitchen sprayer.  The water instantly beads on the cloth and does not penetrate into the contents.

What happens when the bag gets burned?

We set fire to the bag using a lighter for about five minutes.

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag5

The cloth did turn black, and the fire caught momentarily but the fire doused itself.  The fabric does turn black, but upon inspection of the contents were not affected.

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag6

As you can see, the inside of the bag did not get burned.

Review of the Prescott Fire Resistant bag7I can say Zquared Away’s products did pass the tests.

Zquared Away’s Additional Offer

In the area of fire fighting, once fire fighter gear has done its job protecting a fire fighter in one intense house fire, then it has served honorably and can be retired.

Zquared Away has a nice offer that if the ZquaredAway line of protective covers has also done their job in a house fire, then they will be happy to replace up to 5 of your bags.  All that you need to do is send them back the old ones.

The Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and Thumb Drive Cover are available from Amazon.

The Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and Thumb Drive Cover are ideal containers for your grab and go binder, family photos and other important documents.  Having them in a bag makes them portable and protected at the same time.

Check out the post following this review for a great giveaway of the Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and Thumb Drive Cover.  Or visit Amazon to order Prescott Fire Resistant Bag and Thumb Drive Cover.

© Apartment Prepper 2014



Get out of debt

 Christmas Shopping Deals





Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger Knocks?

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger KnocksThis post is by Bernie Carr,

During the holidays you may notice an increase in people coming up to your door:  leaving flyers, selling something or just being neighborly.  But you never know what their intentions are.

The local constables in our area have been warning people to be more vigilant due to a rising number of burglaries.  One of the more controversial questions is whether you should answer the door when a stranger knocks or pretend you’re not home.

So, should you answer the door when a stranger knocks?

Our local law enforcement does recommend that you should answer the door from behind the locked door.  The reason for this is, many thieves knock on the door to find out if someone is at home.  If someone answers, they avoid the house because they are looking for an easy target.  But if you pretend you are not home, they may try to sneak in and find you, placing you in danger.

At the same time, the person knocking may not have ill intentions at all, and there would be no reason to fear them.  Answering the door without opening it at first will at least allow you to find out what they want.

What I encountered when I went door to door for charity

I myself have accompanied my kids when going door to door selling tickets for a charity fundraiser.  Many neighbors seem to get freaked out when you ring the doorbell.   Standing outside, I can usually tell if someone is at home.   You can tell if it’s kids but lots of adults just stand there as well.  It’s just a sad fact of life while living in the big city.  Many people may live next to each other for years and never get to know each other.  I didn’t take it personally if they don’t answer the door.  But the few who did answer their doors either said they weren’t interested or gladly bought tickets.

Recently, a couple of senior home owners were robbed when a woman and a child knocked on their door.  They let their guard down talking to the woman while an accomplice either snuck in through a back door or forced their way in to rob them.

I can definitely see both sides of the issue.  Here’s what I think:

  • Check who is at the door by looking out the window.  Some doors have peepholes but many do not.
  • Answer the door and ask what they want.  On one hand, you may be worried about safety but on the other hand, the person knocking may just be a neighbor needing to talk to you about something.
  • If you get a bad or nagging feeling, don’t open the door.  Trust your gut.
  • Keep your door locked at all times.
  • Tell children and young teens never to open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  If they notice that someone is at the door, they need to let an adult know.  A couple of home invasions in the city resulted when teens opened the door without checking first.
  • In case of a break-in while your are at home, have a weapon nearby and know how to use it.
  • Or, at the very least, always have you cell phone handy in case you are in danger and have to call 9-1-1.

In answer to the original question about whether you should answer the door, yes, you should.  Find out what they want, but do it behind a locked door.  Tell us what you think in the comments below.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

Shop for gifts!



Review of Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast

Beyond Basics with Natural YeastThis post is by Bernie Carr,

I received a review copy of Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast by Melissa Richardson.  For anyone who does not know about “natural yeast” vs. commercial yeast:  Yeast is a naturally occurring substance that is present everywhere.  Baking with natural yeast means cultivating your own “starter” dough and using it over and over.  Commercial yeast is what we all know and buy at the supermarket – Fleichmann’s or Red Star come to mind.  This book is about using natural yeast for all kinds of baking needs.

I have to say my one experience with natural yeast was not exactly stellar:  I ordered sourdough starter and was not very successful when I baked my first loaf.  Even with good intentions, I ended up throwing it all out when the started dough began smelling odd in the fridge.  Nonetheless, I was ready to give natural yeast another try.

The book is beautiful: full color with glossy pages, and a spiral spine for easy page turning.  The book’s appearance immediately drew me in.

Upon reading the book, I learned a lot about success factors in growing your yeast, the science behind it and the multiple uses of natural yeast.  Prior to reading this book, I thought natural yeast is normally just used for baking bread.  Actually, it has so many more uses besides bread:  muffins, pancakes, waffles, crackers, croutons, stuffing; there is even an international chapter with recipes for different cuisines.

This book is a follow up to the first book, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast.  If you are completely new to natural yeast, I would recommend reading The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast-even the book mentions it is a good idea to read it.  However, if you are already familiar with using natural yeast, Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast can stand on its own.

The recipes are simple and easy to understand.  The photos are eye-catching and very inspiring.

In fact, I was so fired up about trying natural yeast again that I took the steps to grow my own starter.  The book also gives instructions on how to obtain your own free starter.  I think it is very practical and cost-effective to learn how to grow and bake with natural yeast.  Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast is a keeper and I recommend you pick up the book.  It would make an excellent gift as well.

© Apartment Prepper 2014